Freddie's fast finish
20-footer at 18 gives American his second senior major in style
Last Updated: July 30, 2012 7:49am
Fred Couples: the sixth player to win the Senior Open in his first appearance
Fred Couples made birdies at the last two holes at Turnberry to win the Senior Open Championship by two shots from fellow American Gary Hallberg.
Couples had trailed his fellow former Masters champion Bernhard Langer by a shot overnight and the German still led on the back nine on Sunday.
But Langer reacted badly to being put on the clock and dropped five shots in as many holes, slipping down the leaderboard just as Couples took control.
(GB & Irl unless stated)
-9 F Couples (US)
-7 G Hallberg (US)
-4 B Lane
-4 D Mast (US)
-4 C Mason
Click here for collated scores
Couples drew level with Langer with a birdie at 11, and the 12th was to prove a major turning point as Couples birdied and Langer ran up an ugly double-bogey six.
Couples gave a shot back at 13, but he recovered to par the next three while Langer plummeted down the leaderboard with three straight bogeys.
Halfway leader Hallberg had set the clubhouse target at seven under as he kept a bogey off his card in a superb four-birdie 66.
But Couples made a two-putt birdie at the par five 17th to pull a shot clear of Hallberg, then drained a 20-footer at 18 to clinch his second senior major in style.
"It was obviously a very fun day, but being paired with Bernhard, you've got to play great and for a long time there, we were neck and neck, and obviously Gary Hallberg made a very nice, strong finish.
"I drove it well. I did drive it in a couple of pot bunkers and made bogeys. But I made just enough putts and hit a couple of really nice shots on 15, 16, 17, 18, pretty much right where I needed to go.
"And you know, that was a big birdie on 17 to make 18 play easier and then when I hit the you putt, the hole got in the way to win by two.
"But I'm very happy and excited to have won this. And on the green, first thing I asked Bernhard, 'I really don't know, do I get to play in The Open next year?'
And he goes, 'Yeah, you do.' To play one more Open is really, really special, too.
He is the sixth player to win the Senior Open in his first appearance at the event.
Carl Mason matched Hallberg's 66 to earn a share of third place on four under alongside fellow Englishman Barry Lane and American Dick Mast.